Christine Neumann-Ortiz is the founding Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera, a low-wage and immigrant workers center with chapters in Milwaukee and Racine, Wisconsin, including a student chapter called Students United for Immigrant Rights with members from 3 high schools. Voces de la Frontera is increasingly recognized as Wisconsin’s leading voice for immigration reform.
Recent accomplishments include leading nationally recognized Immigrant Rights Marches with 80,000 participants on May 1, 2007. People marched through the streets of Milwaukee for immigrant and human rights.Latino, Polish, and African immigrants were joined by Chicanos, African Americans, Caucasians and others. The unified message was: We stand together against an oppressive, apartheid system that forces 12 million people in this country to live life in the shadows, locked into low wage jobs and silenced at their mistreatment by abusive employers. On May 1, 2006, 70,000 participants marched on Milwaukee streets and 30,000 participants on March 23, 2006. Under Ms. Neumann-Ortiz’s leadership, the energy of these mobilizations was effectively converted into electoral power with a record 32% increase in targeted Latino wards in Milwaukee and Racine in November, 2006.
Ms. Neumann-Ortiz is recognized as a national leader in immigration reform, serving on the board of a national coalition of the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FAIR) and featured in national interviews on National Public Radio and CNN. She serves on the board of the Wisconsin Legalization Coalition (representing 44 allied organizations in the State), Wisconsin Citizen Action board and Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice board. She has received community award recognitions from Labor Council for Latin American Advancement chapters in Milwaukee and Janesville, the 2006 “Do What is Just” Award from MICAH, the 2006 Public Service Award from the National Association of Social Workers – Wisconsin Chapter and the 2006 “Education: A Family Affair Award of Excellence”, presented by the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee, the State Department of Public Instruction and the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. Ms. Neumann-Ortiz also writes a regular column in the local Spanish Journal.
Prior to directing Voces de la Frontera, Ms. Neumann-Ortiz served as the Coordinator of the High School Equivalency Program at Milwaukee Area Technical College, advancing migrant education in Wisconsin. Ms. Neumann-Ortiz also previously worked as Director of the Wisconsin Committee on Occupational Safety and Health and as Coordinator for of an Economic Development Project in the Printing Industry, supported by the Center for Community Change.
Ms. Neumann–Ortiz earned her Masters Degree in US/ Chicano History at the University of Texas- Austin and her Bachelor of Art degree in English at the University of Wisconsin- Madison.